Monday, July 27, 2020

A Few of My Favorite Books and Authors


When people ask me what my favorite book is, I usually reply with, “Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.” That’s the truth, as far as classics go. I can’t narrow down a favorite fiction book that’s not a classic because there are just too many.
https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Bantam-Classics-Charlotte-Bronte/dp/0553211404/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=jane+eyre+classic&qid=1595892836&sr=8-2

I loved the series by Richard Paul Evans called The Walk. To sum it up, terrible things happen to a man within a short period of time and he really doesn’t know what to do…so he walks. And he walks. And walks. His journey is amazing: what and who he encounters, lessons he learns, and a building of his faith. I will definitely read that series again in my lifetime.
https://www.amazon.com/Walk-Novel-Richard-Paul-Evans/dp/1439191425/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=richard+paul+evans+the+walk&qid=1595892578&sr=8-1

I have favorite books by some other favorite authors as well such as Riley Sager, K. L. Slater, Loretta Marion, David Baldacci, David Bell, Mark Edwards, Dean Koontz, Mary Higgins Clark and David R. Dow, to name a few! But I just cannot narrow down one favorite.

Speaking of Riley Sager, I just finished a book by him called Home Before Dark. Besides the fact that I have no idea WHY he titled it that, it was an EXCELLENT read. I absolutely LOVED it! I read it within a few days. It’s one of those books where you’re a mix between “huh?” and “what the…” and “ohhhhhh” then “WHAT?????” If you want a suspenseful mystery – and, perhaps, ghosts - read that one before any other book. You will not be disappointed.
https://www.amazon.com/Home-Before-Dark-Riley-Sager/dp/1524745170/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=home+before+dark&qid=1595892912&sr=8-2
I have only written contemporary fiction (more like drama and family stuff) – besides children’s books – but I will aspire to write like Riley Sager one day!

What are some of your favorite books?

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Writing and Writer's Block


People often ask me why I write. My response? “Why do you draw? Why do you run? Why do you travel?” 

Because it’s what you love; it’s what you’re good at and it’s your passion. Writing to me is like breathing at times…I don’t know what I’d do without the ability. I write in journals and notebooks. I write stories and poems and letters. I love blank paper and I love blank Word documents on my laptop. When I have a blank sheet of paper or Word document, I just start writing and sometimes I don’t even know what is going to come out.
Sometimes I get “writer’s block” and I can’t continue on a children’s story or novel I was working on, but I step away when that happens and read, write in a journal, or work on a cross stitch project. However, what gets me out of the funk the most is walking! For some reason, when I take walks, my eyes see stories and my head is filled with ideas. When I get back to my house after my walk, I’m usually ready to get back at writing!

Do you get “writer’s block” at times? What do you do to help yourself get back into it? My opinion is that no one should ever force themselves to do something that doesn’t come naturally. Take a break, take a deep breath, and dive back into it later.

I often read novels about a character who is a writer, and they have a deadline from their editor so they can get their next book published but they get writer's block. What does that writer do? They sit there staring at a blank screen. And what usually ends up happening? The writer goes through something (traumatic or thriller-like) and the inspiration hits…and then they write.

When you feel you can’t write, take a deep breath and walk away. Take a walk, take a hike, visit someone, go out to eat, read a book, or even take a nap. Just relax and let the story come to you. Because it will.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Featured Children's Book


https://www.amazon.com/Airabella-Unicorn-Didnt-Want-Take/dp/1087892260/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=airabella&qid=1595441006&sr=8-1
Does your child resist bath time? When you were a child, did you resist bath time? When I was growing up, I liked taking baths but didn’t like to stop playing to come inside and get in the tub. Airabella is like that child who doesn’t like taking baths…only she is a unicorn! 

Airabella, a sweet and fun unicorn, gets dirty one day after falling into a mud puddle. She does not listen when her mother tells her she needs a bath. She just does not want to take a bath!

This cute story was created by a six-year-old!! That’s right, Addalynn Sanders is only six, but she came up with this fun story and her mother put it into writing so she could publish it. Addalynn loves unicorns and you will too after you read this book!

Find out what happens to a muddy Airabella in this sweet story by purchasing this book on Amazon for your Kindle or as a hard copy. Don’t forget to leave a review!


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Self Publish or Traditional?


Do you want to get your book published but aren’t sure how? Are you confused with the difference between publishing with a company or self-publishing? I can offer some advice.

I have seven published books: one novel, two children’s chapter books, and four children’s picture books.I self published all but one.

I did have one of my children’s picture books published by a self-publishing company called Two Girls and a Reading Corner. At the time, I wanted the book published before Christmas and I didn’t have the time to search for an illustrator, format the book and go through the self-publishing steps. Mandy was great – and she’s honest – and it was a load off of my shoulders to have her do that. I will be having Two Girls and a Reading Corner publish a few more of my children’s books in the future, as I want to concentrate on my own business and my writing.

The reasons I choose self-publishing over traditional publishing are as follows:
1. More royalties by self-publishing
2. Complete control over your own work
3. Control over marketing

I’m not saying publishing companies are bad. Heck, I’d love to get some novels published by big companies due to the fact that my editing business is growing and I’d rather concentrate more on that and writing than the work it takes to self-publish and market my work. However, I am a big advocator for self-publishing.

Is self-publishing right for you?
Well…ask yourself these questions:

1. Are you able to format your own book OR can you afford a book formatting specialist?

2. Are you willing to do the work to go through the publishing steps OR hire a consultant to help?

3. Do you have the know-how and the time to market your work?

If you can answer “yes” to those questions, I would go the self-publishing route. However, if you say “no” because you’re not able NOR do you think you can afford services to assist you, do some research and get quotes first. I offer editing, proofreading, self-publishing consulting and book formatting services at very good rates and maybe there are others who have good rates as well. Self-publishing doesn’t have to be expensive. Sometimes, it costs more to go through a publishing company so BE CAREFUL and do extensive research (read their contracts, etc.) before choosing a publishing company. Many times, companies want a very large payment to do this work for you AND they take a good chunk of your royalties, so it’s not worth it.

Also, it’s always important to market your work even before it’s published. You want to get your readers excited before the book is even available! I’m lucky to have an amazing marketing assistant, Tina Sanders (also blogger at Read N' Reviews). She knows how to create fun posts with blurbs that cause people to want to check out your business or read your books!

Whether you self-publish or go through a publishing agency, the most important thing to do is have fun! Enjoy writing and the going through the marketing process. Join Facebook author/illustrator groups and meet other artists! Good luck!!

If you'd like to see books I have self-published, visit my website at http://melanielopata.weebly.com/